The CV/Resume, and personal security – guidelines on protecting yourself

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 - CV Writing

Have you ever thought about how much information you put about you on your CV/Resume? Not just about your career history and skills, but about you?

In a series of recent national surveys covering the UK, Europe and North America, each found that on average that 7 out of 10 CV/Resumes included enough information about the applicant to be able to successfully apply for a credit card in the candidate’s name.

As security expert Frank Abagnale said in a recent interview: “It’s all publicly available on the internet. But actually I only need three pieces of information to get credit in someone’s name: their full name, date of birth and national insurance number.

The Federal Trade Commission reported that nearly 15 million Americans have been victims of identity theft, costing consumers $5billion and banks and businesses $56 billion every year. In the UK, there were 28,500 victims of ID theft recorded between January and June 2008 by CIFAS members.

With recent legislation introduced in many countries, particularly related to age discrimination, there is a resultant shift in what level of information detail needs to be placed in a CV/Resume by a candidate.

For instance, as a result of legislation, there is no need even if the potential employer asks for it to include your date of birth in your CV/Resume. The only time an employer has a right to this information, is when they ask you to complete a separate job application form, the data entered into which is covered by Data Protection legislation.

So, what are the best personal security practices when creating your CV/Resume:

BEFORE you apply:
1.Ensure your contact details are focused on you and neutral. If in doubt or if you live in temporary accommodation, get a mail box – at around £20/$30 a month, it’s a security bargain
2.Your eMail address should be adult and focused around you, and not a childish online character – Jennie69 may be fun online but is a no-employment sign on a CV/Resume. If your name is Jim Smith, then is fine unless you happen to be a web designer, in which case get a domain and create a portfolio
3.Get yourself a nice new Pay As You Go cellphone. You won’t be making many outbound calls on it initially, so no need for anything more than the starter £10/$10 credit. Record the message greeting in your own voice – write down the salutation before recording it in a nice quiet room: “Hello, this is X. I am sorry I can’t take your call right now, but please leave your name and contact details, and I will call you back as soon as I can.”
4.Do a Google CV check, and clean-up your online profiles

In your CV/Resume:
5.NEVER state your full name, and leave out middle names. James Robert Smith comes down to James Smith, or if you use your middle name in preference Robert Smith. Never use Jim, Rob, or J Rob – this is a formal and professional application, plus middle names are often used by banks as security checks
6.Mainly for women, but also for men, never state Miss, Ms or Mrs. Never state your marital status – an ongoing messy divorce is a no-employment warning, a former marriage best left in the past
7.In your CV/Resume, state the contact details you have already lined up before. If using your home address, then just include district and city, nothing more: Manhattan, New York or Hammersmith, London is sufficent. No need for street, and certainly no need for apartment/house number
8.NEVER state your full date of birth. “Aged 32” at maximum
9.There is a lot of debate in the CV/Resume writing community about stating certain employment dates: if you do you could look old, if you don’t it is difficult to show the level of experience. The area to pay attention to are your educational dates, often used as security checks. If you are past 20, then no need for school (I can age you from that), and probably leave out your base degree graduation date – again often a security check used by banks
10.NEVER included any government issued numbers or related personal information. This covers everything from National Insurance/Social Security numbers, Passport numbers, and Tax code references. Even if you are a migrant worker, just state “Fully able and certified to be able to work in X country, full documentation available on request at interview stage.”
11.NEVER provide personal financial details, such as bank and credit card details. Avoid any employer who asks for a process fee or application deposit – it’s a sure sign it’s a scam
12.NEVER include the names and contact details of your references, even if asked for – the same goes for them as much as you

Please, think about what information you include on your CV/Resume. Often when candidates ask how they get their four page leviathans down to two pages, just applying the above rules would reduce it by at least a page.

If you think you may be a victim then send off for your credit-reference files from a recognised organisation like Experian or Equifax – it only costs £2/$5. They will show any fraudulent applications for credit. Inform CIFAS, the Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System, which will put your name on an alert file.

For more information on this subject, you may like to read the following websites and articles:

UK Government online ID website
Wikipedia article on Identity Theft
Daily Mirror article on ID theft

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